Head of Life Department, encompassing all zoological materials held by the Museum. Specific responsibility for the Diptera and Arachnid collections covering enquiries, loan, cataloguing, digitisation, hosting visitors for tours, teaching and academic research visits.
Runs various training sessions in museum specialisms including the collection, mounting and conservation of insect and arachnid specimens; documentation and collections management. She regularly takes on interns and work placement students interested in natural history and museum studies.
Provides exhibition expertise for both permanent and temporary displays. She has constructed a number of permanent displays for the Museum, including the Alphabet Zoo and the Thematic Insect display.
Other activities include: answering conservation queries; integrated pest management advice and pest identification services; science writing and editing
Currently working on a number of research projects focusing on the Octavius Pickard-Cambridge Exotic Araneae collection. She seeks to develop collaborative projects with researchers from around the world.
Zoë studied Environmental Biology at Oxford Brookes University, qualifying with a first-class honours degree in 2004. In 2017 she graduated from Leicester University, where she was awarded a Masters with Distinction in Museum Studies. For her dissertation she was presented the Professor Susan Pearce Prize, which is given to the student who achieves the highest mark in the year for projects relating to museum and gallery objects and collections.
Her work in the Hope Entomological Collections has led to a specialism in historic collections research, particularly with regard to identification of type material. She has an interest in the material culture of natural history collections, especially relating to insects and/or Victorian era collections with which sale and exchange of specimens is linked to patterns of global trade and exploration.
Redescription of two West Himalayan Cheiracanthium (Aranei: Cheiracanthiidae)
IdentIté de Gnaphosa molesta / IdentIty of Gnaphosa molesta (Araneae; Gnaphosidae)
Bulletin de l’Association Française d’Arachnologie
Unidentified Central and South American Diptera in the Oxford Museum of Natural History (OUMNH), or Awesome flies and where to find them
In late 2017, prompted by the increase in fly fervour for the then incoming 9th International Congress of Dipterology (Windhoek, Namibia) and 2019 Year of the Fly, an overview of the Diptera collections held at OUMNH was undertaken with a view to forecast and plan collections work over the next decade. One of the strands for this plan encompassed the enigmatic goal of ‘tackling the specimen backlog’. Like most major museums OUMNH has an accumulation of both wet and dry by-catch material awaiting processing after various field expeditions. Whilst these samples are well stored, they remain relatively inaccessible due to the nature of that storage and lack of identification even to family level. It was felt however that a portion of staff time should be devoted to unlocking at
least some of its research potential, capitalising on the buoyant mood of the dipterological community. Thankfully the museum, whilst not currently employing a dipterist, has a long tradition of dipterological work and links remain strong with researchers around the world. Coupled with the timely advent of the OUMNH Fellowship scheme, launched in spring 2018 this provided a hitherto unprecedented opportunity to secure expert help.
Type specimens of Neuropterida in the Hope Entomological Collection, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
On the type species of the genus Aetius O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1896: The first description of male with notes on cymbial notch and mating plug (Araneae: Corinnidae: Castianeirinae)